'Remember the Titans' coach to speak at Penn College

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The real-life inspiration for the popular Disney movie “Remember the Titans” will be the featured speaker for this year's observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s contributions.

Herman Boone, the motivational football coach portrayed on screen by Denzel Washington, will address this year's theme — “Community Unity: Moving Forward Together” — in a free, public appearance at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in Pennsylvania College of Technology's Klump Academic Center Auditorium.

“For a number of years, Penn College has been working with our Williamsport community partners: the Beloved Community Council, Lycoming College and STEP AmeriCorps, in an effort to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through a Dream Week celebration,” said Katie L. Mackey, director of campus and community engagement. “Dr. King, a powerful man who displayed values of compassion, justice, courage and humility, left a true legacy in the lives of so many individuals and continues to inspire our actions moving forward.”

This year’s commemoration also includes a milelong Peace Walk and Day of Service, beginning on campus at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15. The procession, which is open to the public and preceded by a half-hour registration, will begin at the college's Bardo Gymnasium.

It will be followed by guest speakers and a rally at 9:45 a.m., then service projects at community locations from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Other Dream Week events include:

  • “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a celebration of King, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Lycoming College's Clarke Chapel
  • “Unity Through Understanding,” a light dinner (5 p.m.) and roundtable discussion (5:30-7:30 p.m.) on Wednesday, Jan. 17, in Christ Community Worship Center, 436 W. Fourth St.

Retired, but continuing to move audiences with presentations on respect, teamwork, community involvement and the importance of character, Boone was challenged in 1971 with uniting black and white players when T.C. Williams High was integrated from three formerly rival schools in Alexandria, Virginia.

Tensions only escalated when Boone was named head coach of the Titans, passing over Bill Yoast, the local favorite and successful head coach of the former (and white) Hammond High School. Yoast’s supporters were angered by Boone’s appointment, but the two coaches were remarkably able to put aside differences and, in doing so, unite their players (and a once-intolerant community) under a common vision of respect and victory.

The Titans became one of the best teams in Virginia, compiling a 13-0 record and going on to win the state championship.

Free showings of the 2000 movie will precede Boone's appearance: at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14, in CC Commons on the first floor of the Bush Campus Center, and at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in the first-floor presentation room of the college's Student & Administrative Services Center.

For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated January 11, 2018